President’s office yet to take call on ex-judges’ plea to commute death penalty of 13 convicts
With President Pranab Mukherjee clearing the way for execution of two convicts in terror cases in less than three months’ time, a group of 14 former judges from high courts and the Supreme Court expects him to take a call soon on its demand to commute the death sentence of 13 convicts “erroneously” awarded capital punishment.
Having sent the letter in July 2012, highlighting the apex court’s admission about “wrong judgment” in seven different cases, the group, which includes five former HC chief justices, is yet to get any official response from the President’s office.
The letter, which was endorsed by Pune-based former Supreme Court judge P B Sawant and former Bombay High Court judge B G Kolse-Patil among others, stated that the execution of convicts “wrongly sentenced to death” would severely undermine the credibility of the criminal justice system and the authority of the state to carry out such punishments in future.
The letter mentioned reported admission by the Supreme Court on “three different occasions” that seven decisions awarding death sentences were rendered “per incuriam (in ignorance) and contrary to the binding dictum of rarest of rare propounded in the constitution bench judgment in Bachan Singh vs. State of Punjab (1980)”.
“None of these cases involve crimes against the State. Further, the concerns raised in this appeal have nothing to do with the larger debate about the desirability of retaining the death penalty. Rather, they pertain to the administration of
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